Born of December 3, 1884, India's first and former president of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad gave up a career in Law to fight for nation's freedom. He was a freedom fighter, lawyer, journalist and a politician and contributed actively in the Indian Nationalist Movement alongside leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawahar Lal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Dr Prasad drafted the first constitution after Indian attained Independence and lead the Constituent Assembly of the new and free India. The former president was one of the chief architects in shaping the Republic of India. He served as the President of India for 12 years. The freedom fighter breathed his last on February 28, 1963.
On his 136th birth anniversary, here are some lesser-known facts about the great leader:
Raised in a landowning family, when Dr. Rajendra Prasad was just 5 years old, his father appointed a Maulavi to teach him Persian, Hindi and arithmetic. After the completion of his elementary education, Dr. Prasad was sent to the Chapra District School.
He then went to study at T.K. Ghosh's Academy in Patna for two years. He played a vital role in forming the Bihari Students Conference in the year 1906 at the hall of the Patna College.
After guiding innumerable students during his stint as a teacher, Prasad joined the High Court of Bihar and Odisha in 1916. He was appointed as one of the first members of the Senate and Syndicate of the Patna University in 1917.
In 1917, Prasad was appointed by Gandhi to assist in a campaign regarding improving the condition for peasants that were being exploited by the British indigo planters in Bihar.
The leader was married to Rajavanshi Devi in June 1896 when he was just 12 years old. Prasad felt greatly for the needy and unfortunate. He volunteered keenly when Bengal and Bihar were experiencing floods in 1914. In 1934, he distributed clothes and food to the victims in Bihar earthquake and epidemic.
Prasad gave up his law practice in 1920 and joined the fight for India’s freedom starting with the non-cooperation movement.
Prasad was an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi and his ideals. He was jailed multiple times by the British government due to his participation and support in the Satyagraha Movement and the Quit India Movement.
He became the first President of Independent India in 1951. Dr Rajendra Prasad retired from public life in 1962 because of his health. It was also the same year when he was honoured with the Bharat Ratna which is India’s highest civilian award.
The highest civilian awardee breathed his last on 28 February, 1963. Rajendra Smriti Sangrahalaya in Patna is dedicated to the iconic leader.